Gary Flake from Microsoft research delivered a fascinating demo of ‘Microsoft Pivot’, an experimental technology which focuses on browsing collections of content/pages, rather than individual pieces of content.  The concept of viewing, filtering and pivoting collections of web pages based on various attributes pulled from the content represents an exciting possible future state for web browsing. 

Whilst Microsoft Pivot is available for download, the application is currently limited to a predefined set of data which have been added for demo purposes. 

I am very curious to see how this technology evolves, and whether this type of application could be used to create views of custom large data sets, spot patterns and identify actions.  I also wonder how long it will be before some of this functionality emerges directly within Bing – exciting times!

This technology illustrates how more significant microformats will become as search engines develop advanced functionality to extract data from web pages, to allow sophisticated browsing of content before users even click through to the destination site.

This is a relatively short TED demo (6 minutes) which I recommend watching…

Author: Chris Moore is a Program Manager working on Search Engine Optimisation at Microsoft.  http://www.twitter.com/chrismdotcom
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